How to choose a real estate agent who will get it done
Hint: It's All About Digital Marketing
The decision to buy or sell a home is one of the most important financial decisions most people make, yet many give little thought to finding the real estate agent best suited to their needs.
An agents is often chosen because s/he is a friend or relative or the person is vaguely known to you through church or some other organization. Choosing the right agent can save you time, effort and aggravation in finding the perfect home at the right price or selling your home quickly for top dollar. So what's the secret?
Begin with the premise that the real estate industry, as with so many other industries, has undergone massive changes that resulted from the advent of the Internet. Long gone are the days of your friendly local Realtor® planting a sign in the front yard and running a small Sunday newspaper ad. In this day and age, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the National Association of Realtors, nearly 90% of all home searches being on the Web. (That's also true of home sellers because they are trying to establish an idea of what their house is worth.) Now, realize that SEO, SEM, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Craigslist, Google+, MeetUp, MyLife, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and a gazillion other social networking sites all have large audiences that have to be reached. Selling your house is all about getting it in front of as many eyeballs as possible; if you are a buyer, the search is all about seeing every available property that fits your criteria so you can carefully choose those properties worthy of your valuable time.
Then there is the issue of negotiating prowess. A great Realtor® makes the difference in the last few thousand dollars of the deal -- whether you're a buyer or a seller. Sure, it's hard to hold out for the last five, seven, even ten thousand dollars when your home is being sold and it's hard to try and carve out a similar amount when you're on the buy side but -- to use a bad cliche -- that why great real estate agents get paid the big bucks. Shelley O'Hara, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying & Selling a Home, says, "When you announce your desire to purchase a house, you may be surprised at the number of real estate people who want to represent you. Agents come out of the woodwork. You won't have to worry too much about finding an agent -- but you do need to worry about finding a good one."
Selecting a great Realtor® is truly the most important aspect of either buying or selling a home but people often go about it backwards. They call about a home they see advertised on the Web and that is often how they are introduced to the person destined to become their real estate agent. In truth, your Realtor® should be hired first because s/he can then guide you from the very beginning, often helping you to avoid costly errors. It is quite appropriate and prudent to interview a Realtor® prior to agreeing to allow that person to represent your interests. Find out her/his experience and qualifications and ask for references from present or past clients. Those people will tell you what you need to know about your prospective agent. Also, if you're a seller, don't be afraid to ask how much money the agent intends to invest in marketing your property and demand the marketing plan in writing.
Once you have identified a candidate (or candidates) who is Internet savvy and has the requisite skills to negotiate aggressively on your behalf, select someone with the title Realtor®, which can only be used by members of the National Association of Realtors. The NAR has a strict Code of Ethics to which each member must adhere in addition to state and federal statutes and regulations. It's a fact that every real estate agent has a duty of trust and confidence to his or her client and virtually every agent understands and honors that very important fiduciary responsibility. Thus, you can count on pretty much any agent to disclose all the material facts of any transaction -- everything they know about the property -- good or bad and to treat you with kindness and respect during the transaction. But the difference between a competentRealtor® and a great Realtor® lies in his or her ability to create and execute a truly irresistible digital marketing plan and, once negotiations begin, to make the very best deal possible on your behalf.
Don't settle because your home is perhaps the largest investment in your financial portfolio. Choose great over good; you'll be happy you put forth the effort to hire the best.